It stands to reason that the city’s official poet laureate would be someone passionate about poetry and the spoken word, but for Ahmed “Knowmadic” Ali it’s vital. “I love poetry. I live poetry,” he says. “It genuinely feels good because you are rewarded for doing something you love.”
The talented writer and performer attributes his background for his introduction to and passion for poetry. “Somalia is called ‘The Nation of Poets,’ and oral tradition is huge there,” says Knowmadic, noting that Somalia established its first written language in the 1970s and thus has a long tradition of oral storytelling. Additionally, it’s a more accessible art form: “With poetry, you just write. If you have nothing to write on, write on the sand. If you have nothing, just think about it. Memorize it.”
In particular, Knowmadic loves the magic of creating, whether it’s his own work or someone else’s. As both the poet laureate and the artistic director for the Breath in Poetry collective—and through his own business, Confident Camel—Knowmadic has many opportunities to both create and inspire creation. “There are seven billion people in this world and nobody thinks the way you do,” he says. “When you create any type of art, as long as you’re authentic, nobody can replicate that.”
Keep an eye out for Knowmadic’s first collection of poetry, which should be published next year. If you would like to hear some of his spoken word, head to the upcoming Edmonton Poetry Festival, where he is scheduled to perform in two events and host the popular slam poetry finals.
But most importantly, Knowmadic is always looking for opportunities to connect with others, which you can do through his website. “Get to know me, reach out to me, connect with me,” he encourages. “Edmonton might be cold, but the people are warm! It’s an amazing community.”